This is Shane's Inner Circle, a World-Class Educational Resource for Cinematographers

Shane's Inner CircleLearning about cinematography online is no easy task. Since there is more educational material about cinematography on the internet than one person could possibly sift through during an entire lifetime, finding relevant, topical information when you actually need it can be a bit of a drag. Luckily, there are a few online resources to combat this. Shane Hurlbut's fantastic blog has always been one of them, but since Hurlbut and his team are entirely devoted to educating the next generation of cinematographers, a simple blog wasn't enough. That's why they created Shane's Inner Circle, an interactive educational gathering place for up-and-coming cinematographers, where Hurlbut will generously share his wealth of knowledge, as well as a hefty set of tools, with followers.

First things first, here's the trailer that Shane and his team created for Shane's Inner Circle:

So what exactly is Shane's Inner Circle, and what kinds of things will you learn by subscribing? Here's what Hurlbut had to say in his blog post about the new program:

Shane’s Inner Circle is a monthly membership club designed to be intimate, interactive, and share extreme attention to detail for those of you who desire to take your filmmaking and storytelling to the next level. Many of you have voiced how my virtual mentorship has changed your life and that our current informational posts have helped shape you as a storyteller. This club is my commitment to help advance filmmaking knowledge globally. I think of it as being able to share the “Keys to My Castle.”

Membership in the program, which costs $8/month, covers a wide range of unique educational topics and tools that cinematographers of any experience level will be able to utilize in their own work. The website is broken down into the following categories

  • On Set With Shane: It is an operating series that outlines my day to day challenges and triumphs from my latest feature film projects. These documents are jam packed with visual aids, location pictures, links, and lighting schematics that will share the decision process I go through every day.
  • Power Posts: Lighting, lens choice, composition, blocking, and exposure are discussed in depth along with techniques for you to implement immediately. Video examples, testing and full audio commentary put you inside my stream of consciousness.
  • Monthly Podcast: Submit your challenges and questions and I will answer them in this hour long Podcast giving you access to my 20 years of experience, ranging from career advice, to lighting techniques and everything in between.
  • Camera Profiles & LUT's: Get access to the picture styles that I have used on Act of Valor and over a 150 commercials. They will transform your DSLR into a cinematic machine. Increase your efficiency and productivity on set by downloading camera profiles for the C500, C300, and 1DC that my team and I roll out with on a daily basis. Download profiles to transform your SmallHD DP-7 into an efficient on set visual tool. These profiles are pulled from my camera team’s experience, providing you customized smart key functions, focus assist settings, and 16 LUTS to help expose your creations.
  • In-Depth Tests: Lens, camera and lighting tests will educate you on what camera, lenses or lighting will best suit your creation.
  • Lighting Fundamentals: The critical decision of where to place lights and when to add or take away light is discussed in detail.

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but this is the type of educational hub that I've been waiting for since the day that I first picked up a camera. Without having seen any of the content yet -- the site launches in 5 days -- it's hard to say whether or not the site will live up to expectations. However, considering the quality of the content on Hurlbut's blog, I think it's a safe bet to say that this will be an educational resource like no other.

So if you're interested, head on over to Shane's Inner Circle and get signed up.


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Your Comment


I have been waiting for it loong time. I am fed up with other online blogs feeding you bulshit how this camera is better than the other! This guy's blog is the one that stands out. I want to learn the craft. Hungry for knowledge!

August 1, 2014 at 4:26AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


One of the best resources for amateur cinematographers is getting even better? Say no more, take my $8 please.

August 1, 2014 at 6:29AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Hurlbut definitely has a lot of good information on his blog, but sometimes it feels like he's just trying to sell monitors and tiffen filters. Maybe it's just his brand loyalty.

August 1, 2014 at 7:52AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


I think he just loves those brands. I personally always suggest certain gear to people because it just works.

August 1, 2014 at 10:01AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Chuck, I signed up but this notice on the bottom of his signup page did make me worry. It suggests that he's indebted to the sponsors and so pushing their products will be suspect. That notice was this:
"Lydia and I want to keep Shane’s Inner Circle accessible to as many people as possible and we are able to do this at $7.95 per month with the support of our amazing sponsors, who subsidize costs for what is really a $90.00 per month value. "

August 1, 2014 at 7:00PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


A La La Long. Walking on set in style.

August 1, 2014 at 8:40AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


For $8 a month, I better not see one ad on that site.

August 1, 2014 at 10:14AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Of course there will still be adds. He directly says he can charge $8/mth because of the support of sponsors. With the amount of time he has put in building these things he'd be needing 50k-100k users to cover that time commitment.

August 1, 2014 at 12:58PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


I think it doesn't require 50k to 100k users on 8bucks a month as that would translate to 400-800k bucks cash inflow a month. It definitely doesn't cost that much to run subscription service and provide content for it... even if he worked non-stop himself just for his website's content production which will not be the case. He will have staff who probably pocket few thousand bucks each a month to run it and edit the content (and they probably do other things too on his business). Of course he has to still oversee, choose topics, give his wisdom to peers for editing... but mostly i'm sure he will still be running his main business and shooting movies (just have someone to follow him behind the scenes to produce the content)

August 2, 2014 at 2:10AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Yeah it's still ad-supported. At least his blog is sponsored by relevant companies.

August 1, 2014 at 1:55PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


@Donavan or else? 8 bucks = 2 shitty coffees, honestly dude.

August 1, 2014 at 2:29PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM



August 1, 2014 at 6:56PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


It actually doesn't cost very much to run. He says it'd cost $90 per month without sponsor support.

August 3, 2014 at 9:40AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Just signed up, hoping for new content and maybe some more in depth explanations as compared to his current blog. I agree with Chuck, but as long as there is merit in what he is preaching it may be worth it. Show us what you got Shane!

August 1, 2014 at 11:06AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


So is there any cancellation fee's if I realize I don't want it?

August 1, 2014 at 10:17PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Seems interesting in theory but right now it seems to be just all of his old stuff stuck on a new website with a charge... basically charging for his old blog posts... maybe I'll wait for something new to appear.. but in general looks ok

August 1, 2014 at 11:45PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


There's no content on the member area yet, except article about utilising gopros more creatively and modding them to do that... I think the old content will stay free and i'm sure more free content will come later as it will work as a stepping stone for people to subscribe.

August 2, 2014 at 12:26AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Yeah it doesn't launch until the 9th. This is like a pre-order.

August 4, 2014 at 8:56AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


I think this is a great thing and there's definitely some value, however I think that sometimes there are too many things out there saying "do this or do that" or use this light set up or this camera or lenses etc etc. While I think this stuff is great and I love this site I believe that sometimes all this information can get overwhelming. In my opinion the articles I find to be most helpful are the ones that discuss the principles of say screenwriting or cinematography as opposed to the how to's or this person's method compared to someone else's. While I appreciate everything that's out there I find that no set up is the same and if you have a firm grasp of the principles then you will be able to make the correct decision when presented with a difficult situation. One example could be when people argue over the type of camera someone uses or for instance they watch a great short and immediately ask what they shot it on which to me completely downplays the other factors that went into the short.

Sorry, didn't mean for this to be a rant, just wanted to see if anyone out there agrees with me. Shane's new venture looks promising and at $8 a month it's very affordable and worth a look. I'm just saying I think the real value lies in learning principles and then applying them in whatever situation presents itself to you rather than learning how he lit a scene in say "Need for Speed".

August 4, 2014 at 12:29PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Could not have said it better. Just getting my feet wet in film coming from a graphic design and then UX background. I am amazed the difference in mindset of how I used to learn as a designer and how filmmakers seem to teach other filmmakers. In design you learn the principles (balance, line, typography, color, etc) we weren't concerned if you used a mac or PC, in fact on my course we did not use computers in the first 6 months, everything was done by hand. Coming into the film world it seems everyone wants to show what and how they do things rather than explain the principles (the why) behind those choices. I seem to have learnt more from doing and asking myself about my choices than watching any of the millions of YouTube videos and other well known training websites.

February 28, 2015 at 2:57AM


Shane's a cool dude and an awesome wealth of knowledge. He also went to the same college as me - "Harvard on the Hill" - HCCC, or "H - triple C" to us Herkimer-ites!

August 5, 2014 at 9:48AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

Eric Miller

I have enormous respect for those that share their knowledge. But I struggle with the big inflated ego bulls**t that so often comes with it. The apocalyptic music and clumsy self confidence.. come on. It's pretty weird.
I think a little more effort to keep the reflection of the key light out of his glasses at the start would have made the bold claim of 'giving you the keys to my castle' a bit more credible.

August 7, 2014 at 1:48PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

J Gee

I would like to post a little bit about my experience with Shane's Inner Circle, to provide some clear information on those that are thinking about signing up.

So I signed up, paid and got in two days ago. I acknowledge that this is only a few days after launch.

Unfortunately, at the time of this typing, it is barely anything more than what is for free on the existing website. There are 2 additional articles, lots of promises of future topics and requests for questions for Shane to answer. There is access to a private facebook page, which after a bit of browsing is nothing more than posts about the (2) new articles on Shane's blog, advertisements about the upcoming illumination tour and fellow inner circle members instagramming their lighting setups or on set photos, or even promoting their own content.

I find most of the stuff on Shane's site helpful and informative, even if there are advertisements on the page. However, the Inner circle still is in it's extreme infancy, and unfortunately, does not warrant the monthly $8 cost - mainly due to lack of content.

I am making an assumption, but I also don't think Shane's camp may be able to keep up with content creation for the site in the near future. With a 30 masterclass tour city tour (that looks great!) and probably a few more great projects that he will shoot on, I can't imagine him having any time to create content for the Inner Circle and keep a high level of attention that a subscription page requires.

While this idea is super cool in concept, it looks like there needs to be a little building before it is ready for prime time. Hopefully in a few months time, this will be another valuable resource!

I canceled today, but my subscription lasts until September 10th, which is something to remember if you are thinking of signing up (you are billed monthly, and like a lot of subscription services, it only ends the next month after your billing date). I will update here if things change and they pump out a ton of content or new functionality.

August 14, 2014 at 1:19PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Also, here are numbers concerning the listed features, at this time.

On Set With Shane: 1 (similar to free content on blog)
Power Posts: 1 (about GoPros)
Monthly Podcast: 0 (only a request for podcast questions)
Camera Profiles & LUT’s: Nothing.
In Depth Tests: Nothing.
Lighting Fundamentals: 1 (about shaping light, great, yet no more in depth than blog posts)

It also looks like posts that came out before one signs up for a membership are only available for an additional fee, via the Inner Circle Store (coming in September).

August 14, 2014 at 1:28PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM